Health & Wellness
Nature’s sweet treat isn’t just for humans, according to Dr. Lindsay Butzer, PetMeds’ small animal veterinarian and general practitioner. Honey is packed full of sugar, so consumption by your pup should be limited, but it’s also a good source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
If your pup doesn’t have a sweet tooth, Dr. Butzer says you still may want to keep the sticky substance around. Its medical home remedies are useful in a pinch.
Just know that even though honey is generally safe pups, you should always consult your vet before introducing a new food item to your pet’s diet.
Despite the sugar content, Dr. Butzer says honey packs a punch full of nutrients. Your pup will lap up vitamins C and B, enzymes, magnesium, potassium and iron in a single serving of honey.
Unpasteurized, raw honey has a greater amount of antioxidants per serving, but Dr. Butzer warns this type of honey has a greater risk of carrying bacteria that can lead to illness.
Puppies under a year of age as well as pups with cancer, autoimmune diseases or diabetes shouldn’t eat raw honey, she adds.
“If your dog has had allergic reactions to bee stings, then honey could cause issues such as skin lesions and oral ulcers.”
When introducing your dog to new foods, keep your emergency preparedness plan within reach so that you can act fast if they need medical attention.
Like with humans, consuming too much honey can cause tooth decay and weight gain in pups. Dr. Butzer says that medium-sized adult dogs shouldn’t have more than a teaspoon of honey a day.
Honey isn’t all made the same. Depending on the type of honey, experts say it can be used as more than a sweet, sticky reward — it’s actually a great home remedy. A serving of honey can coat your pup’s throat and soothe his cough. Plus, the antibacterial properties of Manuka Honey can fight off the harmful bacteria causing the irritation.
“This type of honey has higher antioxidants and contains not just the antibacterial properties of honey, but has also been shown to be bacterial-resistant,” Dr. Butzer says.
Before giving your pup honey for his cough, call your vet for the right diagnosis and ask if honey could provide relief.
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Does your pup suffer from seasonal allergies? Dr. Butzer says the trace amounts of pollen in local honey could desensitize your pup and, in time, provide relief.
Almost any food in large amounts can cause diarrhea — including honey. Small amounts of honey are thought to contain healthy strains of pre- and probiotics, boosting your pup’s gut microbiome and reducing the likeliness of an upset tummy. However, honey will not prevent or stop diarrhea.
If you believe your pup is experiencing a seizure, stay calm and write down all observations during the event, including start and stop times. Then, call your vet. They’ll attempt to rule out poisoning, trauma or underlying health conditions.
Low blood sugar may cause your dog to suffer a seizure. Signs of low blood sugar in dogs include pale lips and gums, lethargy, dilated pupils and shaking.
Honey in its raw form can be rubbed along the gumline where it will “absorb through the mucous membranes to immediately raise a dog’s blood glucose or sugar level,” Dr. Butzer says. If your pup is prone to low blood sugar, talk to your vet about the right way to manage your dog’s health.
If your dog laps up some honey, don’t panic. A sticky treat now and again won’t harm your pup and could have some powerful health benefits. Sweet tooth or not, treats shouldn’t exceed more than 10% of your pup's daily caloric intake.
We’re confident honey isn’t the only human food your dog would enjoy (cue the drool). Check out our series “Can dogs eat” to learn more about which human foods are off-limits and what’s fair game.
The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.